The list of Indian sportspersons who became politicians is a lengthy one. Being a sportsperson then getting into politics has become too common and is the best way to secure your future. It seems politics is slowly becoming the go-to profession after retirement for an Indian sportsperson.
12 Indian sportspersons who became politicians
|1||Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore||Shooting||BJP||Jaipur rural|
|3||Nafisa Ali||Swimming||TMC/Samajwadi Pary||South Kolkata/Lucknow|
|4||Navjot Singh Sidhu||Cricket||BJP/Congress||Amritsar East|
|5||Kirti Azad||Cricket||BJP||Delhi’s Gole Market|
|6||Manoj Tiwary||Cricket||TMC||Shibpur, Howrah|
|7||Gautam Gambhir||Cricket||BJP||East Delhi|
|8||Mohammed Kaif||Cricket||Congress||Phulpur in U.P|
|9||Deepa Malik||Shotput (para-athletics)||BJP||–|
|10||Krishna Poonia||Discus Throw||Congress||Sadulpur constituency Rajasthan.|
|11||Vijender Singh||Boxing||Congress||South Delhi|
|12||Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi||Cricket||Congress||–|
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
The most successful Indian athlete, who made the transition from sport to politics. He was a double-trap shooter, who won India’s only medal at the 2004 Olympics by securing the silver medal. Colonel Rathore has secured seven international gold medals in his shooting career. After taking voluntary retirement from the army, Rathore joined the BJP.
He went onto win the seat from Jaipur rural. However, his peak came in 2014, when he was inducted into Narendra Modi’s Cabinet as the Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting. Rathore was selected as a Cabinet minister with a free charge for the ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2017. He is one of the most successful Indian sportspersons who became politicians.
He is one of the most successful captains of the national side, Azharuddin has seen many ups and downs in his career. He represented India from 1984-2000. Azharuddin returned into the spotlight with the arrival of a Bollywood biopic on his life, titled ‘Azhar’.
He scored a total of 9378 ODI runs, a record that time, in 334 ODIs.
A match-fixing saga ended his playing career. It ended his playing career. He then switched to politics and took part in the 2009 elections representing Congress. He became a member of the parliament by winning from Moradabad.
In 2012, the Andhra High Court lifted the life ban on Azharuddin.
The two-time national swimming champion had switched from a sportsperson to an actor to politician, the 57-year old has had an eventful life and changed her career many times.
From 1972-1974, she dominated Indian swimming, winning back-to-back national championships. She was also a jockey at the Calcutta Gymkhana club. Nafisa started her career in politics in 2004, she joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and contested for the South Kolkata seat in West Bengal. However, after losing out in her constituency, she had to wait five more years for her next chance.
In 2009, she contested the elections for the Samajwadi Party from Lucknow. That time her electoral candidacy resulted in victory. However, after a brief stint with SP, she joined Congress the same year.
Navjot Singh Sidhu
Next on the list of Indian sportspersons who became politicians is former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who played 51 Tests for the Indian team, having made his debut in 1983. He also represented the team in 134 ODIs.
Popular in the commentary box, his comments have been branded as “Siddhuism” by his followers. Still, he took a jump to politics and joined the BJP in 2004. He has been successful in the political arena as well, having won the Lok Sabha elections twice. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 from Punjab before he resigned from the position the same year and quitting the party. Sidhu joined the Indian National Congress in 2017. He won from Amritsar East for the Punjab Legislative Assembly.
Finally, he formed a party of his own, named ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’.
He was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, Kirti Azad played 7 Tests and 25 ODIs for India. His dad, Bhagwat Jha Azad, had filled in as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
After his career as a player, he turned to broadcast on television. He has been part of news chat shows and post-match television discussions. Yet, he finally found a career in politics for himself. Previously, from Delhi’s Gole Market constituency he was an MLA.
He won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Darbhanga, last he was serving his third term in the Lok Sabha as part of the BJP. BJP has currently suspended him.
Manoj Tiwary (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
Cricketer Manoj Tiwary joined the TMC, ahead of the assembly polls in WB. Tiwary joined the TMC during Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s rally in Hooghly district.
Gautam Gambhir (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
Gautam Gambhir in an interview declaring that he was “influenced” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join BJP and start his political career. Gambhir joined the BJP in March 2019. The former opening batsman played a major role in India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup.
Mohammad Kaif (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
The former cricketer, who was known for his outstanding fielding skills, joined the Congress party in the year 2009. He contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Phulpur in U.P which he lost to BJP’s Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Deepa Malik (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
Deepa Malik, (Paraolympian) who represented India in Shot Put in Paralympics, is 1st Indian woman to win a medal in the biggest sporting event in the world. Malik joined BJP and is looking forward to contesting elections for Lok Sabha.
Krishna Poonia (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
Three-times Olympic participant, Krishna Poonia, a discus thrower joined the Congress in 2013. She lost elections against Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from the Sadulpur constituency in Rajasthan.
Vijender Singh (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
India’s professional fighter, who won a bronze medal in the Beijing Olympic Games, is now a Congress candidate from South Delhi. Vijender is highly active in all the political campaigns of Congress.
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (Indian sportspersons who became politicians)
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a former Indian Cricket team captain, was among the first cricketers who joined politics and took part in elections. Regarded as one of India’s most successful cricket captains, the nawab contested 2 Lok Sabha elections and tasted defeat in both. Despite the fact that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and India’s most celebrated cricketer Kapil Dev campaigned for him, he eventually lost the poll.